Higher education, more than economics
The economic position taken by management in relation to increasing use of educational technology for teaching, in part falls under the quality agenda for student parity of experience and institutional marketability against competition. Students take a similar economic argument and support the management position, citing a need for flexibility and value for money. However, Redding (2005), Sharrock (2000) and Molesworth (2009) question the notion of students as consumer, and parity in teaching and learning across programmes is strongly rejected.
Sharrock and Redding both discuss that for many academics the notion of consistency, parity and continuous improvement based on targets and grades should not apply in higher education. Students, subjects and learning vary too widely and students they argue, cannot and do not know what they want or need from HE until they have completed their education. Education is not a passive consumption exercise that allow such simple tangible and measurable comparisons across the whole sector to be made (Sharrock, 2000, pp.149). In deed they continue, the introduction of measures that level all teaching to identifiable best practise case studies, based on management targets and students surveys inhibit creative and critical thinking, and therefore undermine what HE stands for (Redding, 2005, pp.410).
Molesworth (2009) has researched changing student and management discourses of consumer choice and education within a global competitive market. He discusses the difference of being a student, involved in a process of learning and development undertaken as a journey, which changes ones perspective and understanding of the world, to having a degree which is seen as a means to an end, the end being, as noted a well paid job. Within the consumer discourse of having, access to lecturers and their knowledge has become increasingly demand led, a position supported by Gibbs (2010). The choice students exercise in relation to which university to attend, influenced by their experiences consumers in life, affects the position and demands exercised once enrolled within the system (Hanson, 2009).
Hanson’s research (ibid. pp.559) details pressure felt by tutors from students attitude towards educational technology use in teaching,...